What Is Social Media Data? (Plus How To Use It)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 11, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Social media has become a useful tool in marketing to connect with and track consumers. Data from social media platforms can provide a business with valuable metrics that help in developing strategies and marketing content and aid in improving the customer experience. If you work in marketing or sales, knowing how social media data can help your business is useful. In this article, we explain what social media data is, why it's important and how you can use it for business insights with tools to collect and analyze this data.

Related: Creating a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

What is social media data?

Social media data is user information showing social media users' behaviors while on specific networks. This can include what content they view, who they interact with and the content users post. User interactions may be making comments, sharing content with other users, clicking on a URL in a social media post, using hashtags or following companies and other users, for example.

Why is social media data important?

Social media data provides a collection of metrics and statistics that are important to a business in order to continue and repeat success as well as to make improvements to optimize their usage of social media networks. Social media data can provide valuable information for the following:

Platform performance

Social media data can show how well each social media platform a business uses performs specific tasks and how successful these platforms are in achieving goals. For example, one platform may prove to be the best for generating leads of potential customers, while another may be best for gaining visits from the social media platform to the business website. It's important for a business to track this information so that it can manage social media content and improve its posts to achieve goals, such as increasing sales and expanding their customer base.

Content engagement

Content engagement refers to how users interact with a business's content. Interactions help to reach more consumers, which can increase sales. Businesses may use social media data to determine how users react to different types of content, such as video, photos, infographics and contests. If one kind of content gains more engagement, a business can benefit from designing more content like this.

Sales funnel efficiency

The sales funnel helps guide a potential customer from the initial point of contact, such as a social media post, to the point of purchase, which may be an online shop on the company website. Social media data shows how users interact with distinct steps of the sales funnel, which helps a business optimize the process. If a sales funnel is not achieving the set goals, marketers can use social media analytics to determine where in the sales funnel they can make improvements.

Related: How To Make Funnels for Boosting Your Sales and Conversions

Return on investment for marketing

Return on investment (ROI) is an important metric of marketing that helps determine efficient use of budget. Social media data helps gauge the performance or marketing investments and can help calculate return on investment. For example, creating a video to advertise a product is an investment, and the business needs to make enough sales from the video advertisement to get a return or profit from this investment. Social media data can reveal how many users view the video and then make a purchase, which marketing or sales team members can then use to calculate ROI.

Read more: A Complete Guide on How To Calculate ROI

4 ways to use social media data for business insights

Business insights are data analysis of business and consumer actions that help improve business strategy. Social media data can offer business insights specifically on how well their strategies perform. Here are ways a business can use social media data:

1. Audience segmentation

Audience segmentation means separating similar consumers into groups. A business may create audience segments to help define their target audience. These consumer groups may include people with similar behavior or within a certain demographic or geographical location. Audience segmentation can help a business personalize the customer experience and provide valuable metrics about specific consumers.

Social media data is useful in determining audience segments by providing information on social media user activity. For example, users who most commonly interact with video content can be in a group so a business can track them and market more video content toward them.

2. Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of developing and following up with potential customers. By determining what types of content users interact with and which users perform activities such as clicking on URLs, businesses can create content to turn leads into customers. Social media is a great tool for lead generation as well because it provides a wide reach to consumers.

Read more: What Is Lead Generation and How To Generate Leads in 3 Steps

3. Sales outreach

Social media data is valuable to sales representatives doing outreach as well. These analytics can help sales representative determine talking points with prospects. Social media data can also show customer behavior and the content they interact most with, which can help with creating targeted sales pitches.

4. Content creation

Content creation is a key step in marketing, and social media data helps businesses determine what kind of content to create and where to post certain content. For example, if social media users are engaging with polls, then the business may create more polls as a way to advertise products, interact with consumers and retain their current customers following on social media.

What are social media analytic tools?

Analytic tools are software that collects data through searching websites and tracking user activities. Social media analytic tools can collect social media data and quantify it for business insights. Many social media networks offer analytical tools to businesses, but there are also options for free and paid analytic tools. Some businesses many have capabilities to develop their own software to collect and track customer data. Social media analytic tools can:

  • Report customer activity: Analytic tools provide data on customer activity, including content they interact with through shares, likes and comments.

  • Give performance reports: Analytic tools provide metrics for each individual social media platform, which shows a business which platforms are best at connecting with certain demographics and which can achieve certain goals such as customer acquisition.

  • Show customer demographics: These tools provide geographical, gender and age information and can show statistics for behavior that help businesses reach their target audience.

  • Create customer profiles: Some social media analytic tools allow creation of customer profiles, which are representations of different members who are part of the target audience. This helps businesses create personalized content for users with similar behaviors or are in a similar demographic.

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